Since we’ve been on the subject of preparation for tertiary education, what do you really need to succeed? Students tend to focus on the grades: as long as I have the CAPE passes, the SAT scores, the ‘A’-Level subjects, then I’m going to be all right, right?
Right…and wrong. Academic ability is one of the requirements for successfully completing tertiary education. And that’s the point: completion. If you have only prepared yourself to gain admission to the institution, but haven’t thought past that to the next three or four years, you are very possibly setting yourself up for failure. Let’s assume that you have, or will have, the entry requirements. Let’s also assume that you are not one of the students who can attend one of our local tertiary education institutions while living at home. So you will be living on campus or near to campus. What will you need? Basic self-care skills, for a start. Do you know how to take care of yourself? It sounds like a simple, almost silly, question, but you’d be amazed how many people lack these. Take a typical day. Can you:
• Make sure you get out of bed on time?
• Make your bed?
• Make your own breakfast?
• Have clothes ready to put on?
• Get yourself to classes on time?
• Prepare your lunch?
• Organise study/research/
• Find your way to the places you need, eg, the library?
• Prepare your dinner?
• Get enough sleep for the next day?
Additional questions arising from those above are:
• Can you do grocery shopping for
• Do you know about proper food storage?
• Can you do laundry and ironing?
• Can you cook a range of different meals?
• Can you find your way to the
grocery, the Laundromat,
• Do you know how to make and stick to a budget?
• Do you know how you study best, on your own, with a group, in
silence, with noise?
• How good are you at cleaning your living space? What do you know about cleaning implements and
• How good are you at organising your living space and keeping it neat?
• How good are you at devising and following a routine for household chores?
• How often do you think bed sheets should be changed?
• How often will you take out the garbage?
Someone by now is saying, “Surely we’re making a fuss over nothing”. You just need to find a place to live, make sure parents will pay the rent, then you buy whatever you like to eat and show up at classes in whatever clothes you’ve got. What could be simpler? If you haven’t been very involved in the running of your household or in taking care of yourself, then you most likely won’t understand how important it is to have a comfortable, clean living space or how much work it takes to maintain such a space. You would have taken its existence for granted and won’t know what doing this entails. It’s constant maintenance and planning ahead: planning menus, seeing what needs restocking, planning all your different household jobs so they all get done on time. And it’s all repetitive – the cooking has to happen over and over again, as does the cleaning and laundry. The reward is a living space which you truly enjoy. And you may have more respect for whoever regularly takes care of your house!